Reports from Sky News claimed Fortress Investment Group had approached Punch shareholders with a £1bn takeover offer.
Fortress, a US-based investor owned by Japan’s SoftBank, has responded to requests for confirmation by “declining to comment on speculation”, as has a spokeswoman for Punch Pubs.
Sky claimed that City sources said the discussions over the move were “serious” but far from certain to result in a deal.
The organisation went on to claim other parties were also said to have approached Punch and it’s controlling shareholder Patron Capital Partners, and the moves mark the first potential big deal of the sector in the wake of the pandemic.
Punch Pubs & Co, which is led by chief executive Clive Chesser, operates around 1,300 pubs and recently purchased the Young’s tenanted estate of 50 pubs for around £50m.
In 2017, the company, then called Punch Taverns with a 3,200-strong estate, was acquired by Patron and May Capital. A large proportion of the estate, 1,900 pubs was then sold to Heineken-controlled Star Pubs & Bars, and the current organisation of Punch Pubs & Co was formed.